Weekly Education Update 4/7-4/12

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 Sudan, South Sudan, DRC, Syria

Sudan, South Sudan

South Sudan’s oil minister, Stephen Dhieu, claims that Khartoum has been constructing an illegal pipeline to extract oil from South Sudan’s Unity State, amid bombing raids.

The Sudanese finance and national minister Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool spoke out against the comprehensive sanctions imposed by the United States on his country saying it is responsible for the recent delay in opening a sugar plant. He called on China to supply financial aid.

Jonglei residents have been asked to return home and start farming once again. Out of the 29,000 residents, only 5,000 remain in the state as of now.

South Sudan said on Tuesday that Sudan had attacked a disputed oil-producing border region and the town on Teshwin with warplanes and artillery. The Sudanese ground forces started their attack from the disputed area of Heglig, where Sudan controls an oil field that accounts for roughly half of its 115,000 barrel a day output. On Wednesday, Sudan said in response that it mobilize its army against South Sudan, and halted talks with Juba over oil payments and other disputed issues after the South occupied an oilfield vital to the North's economy. South Sudan has suspended the oil production in the area. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) intend to reach the border between the two countries as it was demarcated in 1956—the year British-Egyptian colonial rule ended.

The supreme court in Sudan ruled to commute a sentence issued against one of four prison escapees who were convicted of killing a US diplomat three years ago.

South Sudan received a shipment of military hardware from China that were loaded via the Kenyan port of Mombasa, according to a Kenyan newspaper.

DRC

The situation in eastern Congo has been rapidly evolving due to recent developments surrounding General Bosco Ntaganda of the FARDC. Bosco has for years been a key player in the mineral trade, as he has largely controlling sites of extraction and trade in the east. He also serves as a major impediment to justice and accountability in the region – though he is wanted by the ICC for the recruitment of child soldiers between 2002 and 2003, he has continued to act without impunity in plain sight. In 2009, Bosco’s ethnic Tusti rebel group the CNDP, linked to Rwanda, was incorporated into the Congolese army through a peace agreement. Since then, he has used his position to consolidate power and the group has been accused of rape, murder, extortion and intimidation of the civilian population. Last week, CNDP members defected from FARDC on orders from Bosco. Kabila’s government is increasingly under pressure by the international community due to the widespread irregularities and fraud in the November election process, and Ntaganda might be the only card President Kabila has to play in order to appease the international community. “Last week, Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders is said to have told DR Congo President Joseph Kabila that his credibility was being affected by his failure to arrest Gen Ntaganda.”

As of Monday, President Kabila, in an unprecedented move, traveled to Goma. He reportedly never travels to the region, except for when he is on the campaign trail, so the move is especially significant. Wednesday, Kabila called for the arrest of Bosco, as a means to restoring peace in the region. Kabila said, “We ourselves can arrest him because we have more than 100 reasons to arrest and judge him right here (in Goma), and if not here, then in Kinshasa or elsewhere in our country.” Anneke van Woudenberg of Human Rights Watch says that Kabila’s government is legally bound to transfer Bosco to the Hague after referring the crimes committed in 2004 to the ICC. While the Congolese government can submit a request to the ICC to try Bosco domestically before a military tribunal, she fears the justice system is too weak to “try Bosco’s crimes in a free and fair process.” Bosco apparently fled to the bush with a few CNDP members, and his whereabouts are now unknown. However it is believes that he has consolidated forces loyal to him in an area north of Goma between Rutshuru and Masisi. 

Syria

April 12th marks the deadline by which time the Syrian government agreed to have implemented the United Nations ceasefire plan headed by Kofi Annan. Early indications suggest that large-scale violence has come to a tense stand still, but questions and doubts remain about the full implementation of the plan. Since the cease-fire deadline passed Syrian opposition sources reported to BBC News that three civilians had been killed in Idlib and Hama, and Syrian state tv reported that a roadside bomb in Aleppo had killed one and wounded many more. NYT reported that an uneasy peace has settled upon most of the unrest's major hotspots, but that the pullout of army and security forces has not been fully undertaken as stipulated by the cease-fire agreement, with Syrian military officials further stating that the pullout must be preceded by “successful missions in combating criminal acts by armed terrorist groups.”

Earlier this week on April 9th, Turkey expressed disapproval of a reported incident of Syrian security forces firing at refugees who had crossed over the Turkish border from Syria, leaving two dead. Tensions along the border between the two states have continued to escalate, with an estimated 24,000 Syrian refugees having flooded into the Turkish border zone since the beginning of the violence a year ago. 

This post is produced every Thursday to update STAND members and the advocacy community about developments with regards to genocide and crimes against humanity.  For more information contact the following:

Education Coordinator: Sean Langberg education@standnow.org 

Sudan Education Coordiator: Emma Smith esmith@standnow.org

DRC Education Coordinator: Siobhan Kelley skelley@standnow.org

Emerging Crises Education Coordinator: Tom Dolzall tdolzall@standnow.org 

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